Lepidoptera The Currant Moth – Abraxas Grossulariata
The family Zerenida contains only four British moths, and of these we select the Currant Moth or Magpie. This insect is exceedingly common everywhere, and on account of its general brightness of appearance, and also of its diurnal habits, it is often taken for a butterfly. The ground colour of the wings is creamy white, with a yellow transverse band, and a yellow blotch at the base; and the whole surface is more or less blotched with black.
From the end of June to August this moth may be seen in abundance in our gardens, wherever currant bushes exist, flying about both during the sunshine and at dusk, with rather a heavy movement.
The caterpillar is white, with a yellow line along the spiracles, and numerous black dots. There are, in addition to the dots, two large black blotches on the back of each segment. It feeds during May on currant and gooseberry bushes, also on the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). About the end of May it spins a light silken cocoon, and changes to a short dumpy chrysalis of a glossy black colour with bright yellow bands (fig. 34).